By TMR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
PROTON Holdings Bhd had a challenging 2017 with total sales of 70,991 cars as opposed to 72,291 units sold in the previous year, mainly due to lower fleet sales.
Retail sales improved 2.5% to 68,184 units in 2017 from 66,513 units in 2016, according to a company release yesterday.
The national carmaker now jointly owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd noted geographically the central, south and the east coast regions which include East Malaysia, recorded between 1% and 10% boost in units of cars sold.
The fall in fleet sales was due to lower demand from taxi companies, Proton said.
Proton sold only 2,807 units to taxi companies/buyers in 2017 as e-hailing services hit operations of taxi companies.
About 80% of the total Proton cars sold last year were the Saga, Persona and Ertiga models.
Proton’s best-selling car was the most affordably-priced sedan, the Saga, which recorded steady sales preceding 30,000 units, while the Persona model sales rose 27% year-onyear to 19,510 units last year.
The Ertiga also attained strong acceptance in the market by having sold 6,091 units last year, Proton noted.
“Sales of our cars stabilised in 2017 due to quality enhancement exercises performed internally. Our counterpart from Geely carried out a rigid quality audit of our cars and within three months, we were ready to better our quality points threefold,” said Abdul Rashid Musa, VP of sales and marketing at Proton.
He added 2018 will be a vital year for Proton as the company will put into action activities in line to the new 3-10 years Business Plan to turn around the company.
Proton also clarified the company does not accept bitcoins as the medium of purchase of Proton cars.